: views from the Hill

Thursday, May 31, 2007

New eats in the 'hood: Nua

His nibs was at a business dinner last night and, as it was the last night free before the younger younger one heads back to Beantown, the younger younger one and I went out on the town on our own.

First choice for eats would've been Da Flora, where the younger younger one has never eaten but, as we discovered when we tried to get in over the weekend, the chef there had emergency dental work done last weekend and the restaurant was closed. The restaurant didn't look like it was opening last night when we walked by it in the afternoon (on our way to XOX Truffles and the art supplies store at Columbus and Chestnut that I visit some times to drool over paints and canvases and stuff). Other plans had to be made.

A couple weekends ago, after we'd been to "the California Wine Classic" (a fundraiser for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation), we'd stopped off at Dell'uva, a new winebar that had opened that evening. (565 Green, SF). As we were sitting there, absorbing the scene, we looked across the street and said to ourselves, "selves? You haven't eaten at Nua yet and they've been open far longer than Dell'uva."

With DaFlora not an option, the younger younger one and I decided to eat at Nua.

550 Green Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
dinner Tu-Su

Yumpscious food. The wine list can be a bit pricey for my blood and his nibs wasn't there to help me wade through it. The nice guy there helped us choose a wine by the glass to go with the appetizers and mains we were planning. Delicious pairing, but $10/glass? Ouch.

For appetizers we shared brandade-stuffed Piquillo peppers ($9). Tasty. My companion thought them too salty. We also had the chicken liver mousse and a rustic country pate made with pistachios, crostini ($11). Very tasty. The mousse comes in a ramekin and melts in your mouth. You wish you were at home and could lick the ramekin clean. The mousse and pate come paired with a kumquat-quince marmalade. Delicious.

For main dishes we ordered the Parisienne herb gnocchi (with baby artichokes, mushrooms and Pecorino Romano) ($14) and the duck confit (with pistachio apricot couscous) ($21) and that's where we hit our first hiccup. (Did I mention the service is terrific, our water glasses were always full, the client/staff ratio was probably 2/1?)

First (and only) hiccup? They brought our gnocchi ... and the Porterhouse pork chop.


"No. That's not what I ordered," I said. "I ordered the duck confit."

"Oh. We'll fix that right away. Why don't I leave the pork here for you while you wait for the duck."

"Um. No. I really don't want the pork."

So, they took it away and the duck came later (along with apologies at different intervals from at least three of the staff). No problem. Mistakes happen.

The gnocchi was delicious, tender, drenched in butter with mushrooms. I know how hard it is to make gnocchi. These were perfecto. The wait staff said the gnocchi was so tender and delish because they were made with wheat flour, not potato, and there was that to be sure, but the gnocchi I make are not made with potato either, but with wheat flour and ricotta and they are delish but nothing like this.

The duck confit was two sturdy legs worth with meat that fell off the bone. The couscous was delish.

Of everything we had, I was tempted to ask for another order of the gnocchi for dessert, but our wait staff told us that there was a cherry clafouti on the dessert menu that wasn't to be missed and I didn't want to break the heart of the person running the dessert end of the menu. So we ordered the clafouti and I had a glass of (what else) muscato for dessert.

Definitely a place to return to. His nibs needs to try the food (and check out the wine list). That Nua comp'd me the muscato as an apology for the mixup with the pork and duck just added to the good vibe of the restaurant.

Nice to have a new place nearby with good food. (Not that we don't walk a ways for good food, including the dinner at bushi-tei on Sunday and a walk over to Cow Hollow Tuesday night to have a dinner-by-special-request at Isa with the younger younger one.)

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